The World Health Organization defines “health” as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Now I suggest health is not a state. It is not static, but a dynamic resultant process of optimal physical, mental and social well-being. Whenever we measure ‘health’ it provides a snapshot of only one point of time.
When we measure multiple parameters of health through time we begin to assemble frames like a movie. Watching one frame of a movie does not tell you much about what will come next but a couple of hours of frames put in sequence becomes a motion picture.
Case in point: If I take one blood pressure reading, then assume that this is what your blood pressure is always like, then I may be making a very big mistake in recommendations.
Blood pressure is dynamic – it can change considerably depending on what demands are made on our bodies. However, if I take multiple readings over time, and it is well outside idealized norms, then perhaps something like visiting someone who can help with lifestyle changes is the first order of the day.
Another example: I remember in my pediatrics course being told to be very careful when performing an otic (ear) examination of the tympanic membrane (eardrum). Usually if it’s red, we are taught that it is likely to signify an infection. However as I learned, a child running around prior to an otic examination can also lead to a red tympanum, as can a child crying before an examination. If I assume the first and do not put into context the latter two, what’s done next can fit into quite a different range.
So my point is that when undergoing functional tests (telling us about the state of our physiology), perhaps it is better to get a few “points-in-time” for a “dynamic” comparison. After all, one frame (or stand-alone test) does not tell us about what the movie of our life is about. Nor does it accurately reflect what our next move should be. Perhaps we should also apply the salutogenicmodel to ourselves and rather than look at removing “disease and infirmity”, focus on optimizing our health to create the Best Version of You.™